It finally clicked – the thing that helps make sense out of why evangelism is often so unsuccessful. It goes without saying we cannot be successful at what we don’t try. But when we do try I think we have missed something vitally important that will help us be more effective in reaching people.
Here it is – we don’t account for the psychological processes involved in changing your belief system. When you change your beliefs you have to first lose something to gain something.
Losing something comes with predictable stages, first articulated by Kubler-Ross in a series of books on death, grief and loss.
Here are the stages:
1 – Denial
2 – Anger
3 – Bargaining
4 – Depression
5 – Acceptance
Because we are solely focused on belief change we aren’t focused on grieving processes. So want people to go straight from 1 (denial) to 5 (acceptance) without all the hard work that happens in between, that people naturally need to walk through in order to actually move on to a new way of believing.
This understand does a few things:
1 – It helps us empathize – understanding and identifying where someone is on the process.
2 – It helps us move slowly.
3 – It takes the focus off of ourselves and our success. I wonder if we bail on people at the moment before acceptance. They hit the depression stage and we think they checked out on us. The reality is they are one step from accepting!
What do you think?
Here are two videos I did recently explaining this further with examples.